Review from ROAPE Volume 4 Number 9
Chibaro: African Mine Labour in S.Rhodesia 1900-33 (Onselen)


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Chibaro: African Mine Labour in Southern Rhodesia 1900-1933 by Charles van Onselen
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Vol.4 No.9 (Summer 1977), pp108-111
This is the best study of African labour history I have read. Charles van Onselen's account of the system of forced labour (Chibaro) to the Rhodesian mines is a powerful, meticulously documented and almost entirely persuasive work. Such reservations as I have are concerned with some conceptual ambiguities and overall theoretical perspectives which are not fully developed by van Onselen. In particular, given that his account is written within the ambience of conventional historiography, he doesn't make the transition from the situationally-specific features of his material to a set of propositions generic to the capitalist labour process as a whole.